How to find what makes you happy
Being happy is good – being your happiest, though, is better. You owe it to yourself to live your life happily. If you want to be your best, it’s a good idea to have a plan of action.
Are you feeling a bit down? Telling yourself “I want to be happy again” or “I want to make you happy“?
Instead of looking at happiness in vague terms, you can look at it as something that’s a result of your work. Below are forty things you can do to make yourself a bit happier. From minor actions to significant life changes, these activities will surely make your life (and mood) better. Here are 41 things that make you happy:
1. Take inventory
Stop for a few minutes and take inventory of the great things that you have done in life. Even if you’ve never climbed Mount Everest, you’ve probably accomplished something. It is often hard to force yourself to acknowledge the right things, but it does help make you happy.
Take some time to take inventory of everything that you’ve done in life and allow yourself to feel a measure of pride. You don’t just deserve it – it’s something you have to do, to be honest with yourself. Taking inventory is a significant first step towards learning how to be happier in your life.
2. Remember the bad times
One little-known way to help yourself become happier is to stop and remember the bad times. As odd as it sounds, you need to acknowledge that you have come through significant challenges. While these bad times might colour your perception, you can’t ignore them.
It is a good idea to acknowledge that you had the strength to make it through them. Bad times are as much a part of your life as good. Accept the bad days and the strength you gained by persevering – you’ll feel like a champion.
3. Talk to an old friend
We all have friends with whom we have lost touch. Some of these friends are gone because of bad blood. Others though just fell through the cracks. If you want a moment of real happiness, get in contact with one of those friends. Say hello, ask how they’re doing, and reconnect. The conversation doesn’t have to be long or profound. Just make the connection and move on if necessary. These little moments can build up over time and help you connect with the people who make you happiest, and you’ll be happy naturally.
4. Pick up a new hobby
There are few things better than spending time doing something you love. According to The Guardian, hobbies do make us happier. If there’s a hobby in which you are interested, pick it up today. Don’t worry if you’re good at it or if you can sustain it – get a starter kit and get going.
There’s something lovely about discovering a new passion, so embrace that chance. This doesn’t have to be a life-long love affair, but it will teach you something about yourself. Allowing yourself a new hobby is a great way to start feeling happy. Even if you don’t love your choice, you’ll still spend a day trying something new.
5. Play around with an old hobby
Some hobbies don’t stand the test of time. If you want a quick ray of sunshine, though, pick up that old hobby and play around. If you played an instrument, for example, take the time to learn one new song. Put together a quick project if you love to build.
You don’t have to define yourself by the hobby any longer, but you can enjoy what it brings you. It is often a good idea to reconnect with the things that bring you joy. Allow yourself the nostalgia of an old hobby when you can.
6. Go outside
The great outdoors has numerous benefits. Fresh air can work wonders, as can a bit of warm sunlight. Even if you aren’t an outdoorsy person, though, stepping outside your home can be beneficial. When you go outside, you’ll see something new – even if it’s just the clouds moving across the sky.
Learning to appreciate these minor changes will allow you to enjoy the world. Every step out your door is a fresh start towards something new. A quick walk around the neighbourhood can change the way you see the world. Not up to walking? Don’t worry – you can gain quite a bit from sitting on your front porch.
7. Wake up early
It’s amazing how one can limit one’s view by sticking to a schedule. One great way to get happier is to look at the world in a way that you usually miss. Wake up an hour or two earlier to see the world in a new light.
This will also give you the time to relax as you get your day started. There’s something lovely about sipping a cup of coffee and reading instead of hurrying out the front door. It can be tough to wake up early, but it can often make you happy.
8. Stay up late
Do you remember how fun it was to stay up late when you were a kid? You can still get that jolt of joy by staying up a little later at night. Give yourself a few hours at the end of your day that is just for you.
Watch those TV shows you’ve fallen behind on, read a book, read some quotes or look at the stars. Staying up late might make you tired if you do it all the time, but it’s often an excellent way to reconnect with yourself. It’s a small move that can make you much happier.
9. Create an awesome playlist
Music can soothe the soul. You have certain songs that mean a lot to you, so why not put them all together? Go through your music catalogue and make a playlist of the music you love.
Next time you are sad, play these songs. They don’t have to be upbeat, but they do have to be songs you love. Giving yourself access to things that soothe you can make you much happier.
The best part about putting together a playlist is that it is a work in progress. As time goes by, you can add more songs that mean something to you. If you’re stuck, start with this!
10. Call sick into work
This isn’t something you should often do. In fact, calling into work can make your life worse if done too much. If you want to be a little happier, though, don’t be afraid to take an occasional personal day.
A day off in the middle of the week can help you recharge your batteries. Spend the day doing things you love, not things you need to do. When you go back to work, you’ll be happier.
Taking time off will not only make you more productive but help you reconnect with yourself. Everyone deserves to take a day for himself or herself once in a while.
If that’s not for you, here are some secrets to being happy at work.
11. Draw something
Remember how fun it was to draw when you were a kid? You didn’t draw because you were good – you drew because it made you happy. Even as an adult, making a few simple doodles can make an impact on your day. Simply said, being creative makes us happy.
If you want a boost, draw something – you don’t have to stick it on the fridge, but it might help. If you aren’t comfortable drawing, you might enjoy colouring. A little bit of artistic expression can go a very long way. You’ll be surprised by how the act of creation can improve y
12. Cook a meal
Food can have a real impact on your mood. Take some time to learn a recipe and put together a meal that looks good to you. Don’t worry about following trends or doing something overly challenging – have fun.
Cooking can not only be relaxing, but it can also be a great mood booster. You’ll be able to create something you can use immediately. You may also be able to share the joy with others.
Don’t worry if your recipe isn’t perfect – it’s the process that counts. Cooking is its reward. In time, your skills will grow along with your mood.
13. Sing out loud
When was the last time you sang out loud? According to Time Magazine, singing out loud changes the way your brain works. Singing can help you to ward off depression and look at the world happily.
Put that playlist you made earlier to use and sing your heart out. If you’re up to it, participate in karaoke, preferably away from those who know you. If you don’t have to feel self-conscious, you can enjoy yourself a bit more. A song in your heart really can make you feel a great deal happier.
14. Buy yourself a present
A little retail therapy can go a long way. There are things you want that might make you a bit happier, and it’s sometimes a good idea to indulge yourself. Don’t empty your savings to buy trinkets, but let yourself enjoy your money on occasion.
If you can set up a system where you reward yourself with what you want, you can do away with some of the pain of self-denial. Always make sure to do this in a manner that works with your budget, though. There’s nothing worse than paying for short-term happiness with long-term debt.
15. Read a good book
Books can take you to another world. We all know how essential reading is. Dig out an old favourite or find something helpful and allow yourself the luxury of escaping for a few hours. If you’re feeling adventurous, try taking on a new reading challenge like reading one of the 50 best self improvement books of all time.
Reading is a great way to expand your mind and lose yourself, but it’s also an excellent way to expand your horizons. Reading may not change how your life is going, but it can show you new paths. If you are willing to spend a few hours with a good book, you can increase your store of happiness.
16. Plan a party
Want to pick your mood up quickly? Plan a party. When you plan a party, you’re preparing your mind for a good time.
As the planner, you know everything at the party will be to your tastes. Put together the perfect night and invite over some friends. Socialisation is good for your mood, as is the chance to control your surroundings.
While parties aren’t for everyone, even the act of planning can help. When you realise you are capable of having a perfect time, things change. Make yourself happy with a quick get-together.
17. Wear that outfit
Male or female, you have one outfit that makes you look great. You know what the outfit is. The pants the fit just right, or the shirt that’s just awesome. You might not wear it often, but wear it today. It will give you a boost of self-confidence that is hard to beat.
This outfit might not mean much on its own, but it helps. Wear something that makes you feel great when you are feeling sad. Sometimes, looking good on the outside can make you feel great on the inside. Never underestimate the power of wearing the right clothes.
18. Start a project
People aren’t designed to sit around and do nothing. Even if you’re happy, you can improve your mood by starting something new. Look around your home and think of a project that needs to be done. You might build shelves, organise your DVDs, or even paint a wall.
Starting a project helps give you hope for the future. Finishing the project enables you to feel a sense of accomplishment. A good project can help you organise your mind as well as your home. Don’t feel pressured to do something significant – even a small project can help. Working can help you improve the way you feel.
19. Challenge your brain
Your brain needs input for you to feel satisfied. One of the best ways to feel happy is to give yourself a mental challenge. Pick up a crossword or Sudoku puzzle to give your mind a real challenge. Move on to an intricate puzzle or even a set of math problems if you like.
The more you challenge yourself, the more you will surprise yourself. Keeping your brain active isn’t just a great way to become happy, but an excellent way to stay mentally sharp. Keeping your mind busy will help you stay happier as you get older.
20. Start learning a language
It is easier than ever to learn a new language. There are dozens of apps and websites that make learning a breeze. As a mental challenge, learning a new language is a way to accomplish something with your mind. It is also a valuable skill you can use to expand your horizons.
As you learn, you will open up new opportunities. You might be able to travel to a new country or speak to new people. Don’t pick a language at random – choose one that may have meaning to you. With time, you’ll discover a new way to express yourself to others.
21. Plan a trip
Have you always wanted to travel? If so, it might be a good idea to plan a trip. Even if you are unable to leave today, the planning process can be amazing.
Go through the whole process. Figure out where to stay and what you’d do. Once you’re done, you’ll have something to work towards – a goal that can make you happier.
22. Write a story
Writing a story can help you work things out mentally. You don’t have to be a professional writer to put pen to paper. Take some time to come up with a story and put it down somewhere that only you can see.
There are also many great online writing sites that can help you share your stories with others. You can learn a great deal about yourself from the criticism left on your accounts. While the opinions of others can be scary, they can also help to lift you up.
23. Help someone else
You’re not the only person out there who wants to feel happier. Sometimes, the best way to improve your mood is to look at those of others. You’re already happy – so why not be happier by helping out a friend.
The key to becoming happier through helping others is to do it altruistically. Don’t expect to get something in return. The joy you get from helping should be reward enough. Remember, only help out if it’s going to make you feel better – no one will enjoy working with someone who helps begrudgingly.
24. Meet someone new
It’s a good idea to take any chance you can to expand your view of the world. Sometimes, being happy means moving outside of your comfort zone. One of the best ways to do this is to get to know new people.
There are great websites that can help you meet people with interests similar to your own. If you can strike up a conversation, you might learn more about yourself and others than you expect. The chance to make a new friend is often an excellent way to help yourself become a bit happier.
25. Pet an animal
Animals are great mood boosters. They don’t mind hanging around you at your worst, and they love to see you when you walk through the door. According to The Huffington Post, they can also have a very profound impact on your happiness.
Even if you don’t own a dog or cat, you can still get some joy from animals. Visit a pet store or local shelter to interact with the animals. Let their mood inform your own – you never know what you might learn from these happy creatures.
26. Clean your house
A clean house is a happy house, as the old saying goes. It’s also a space that can allow you to relax finally. If you want to feel happier, why not use your energy to give yourself a clean space?
Remember, a clean house can mean different things to different people. If you are the kind of person who likes things spotless, it might be time to wax the floors and vacuum the floorboards. If you’re not that neat, though, you might get more out of a little organisation and a few trips out to the dumpster.
27. Finally finish “that thing”
You know that there’s something in your life that you are putting off. No matter how happy you are, there’s a task waiting for you that you want to avoid. If you want the secret to real happiness, it’s probably something that can be found in getting the job done.
Schedule a time for your unpleasant task and get it finished. Don’t put it off, don’t ignore it, and certainly don’t pretend like it can be done easily. Once it’s done, you’ll be able to pat yourself on the back and go on with the knowledge that you’ll never have to do it again.
28. Watch your favourite episode of your favourite show
Television can be a great way to improve your mood. When you love a show, it’s because there’s something in it that speaks to you. You probably have a favourite episode – so why not watch it?
The great thing about watching television is that it is a relatively short task. Thanks to modern technology, you can probably even watch your favourite episode while you’re doing something else. If you want a quick pick-me-up, give yourself a chance to watch the show that you love the most.
29. Do something physical
Human beings aren’t designed to be sedentary. Even if your hobbies involve being in an upright and seated position, you can get a lot of joy out of doing something physical. What that means, of course, is up to you.
You might go for a run, play a game of basketball, or even chop some wood. What matters is that you get the blood flowing and allow yourself to exult in your physicality. Sometimes, being happy means working up a sweat.
Don’t like the outdoors? How about getting a treadmill and running at home while watching your favourite show? You can get a decent treadmill for a good price easily and it will be worth the investment!
30. Donate to a good cause
There are many people out there that need more than any one person can give. In these cases, everyone has to pitch in to help. Whether you have time, skills, or money, you can help the world by doing your part.
Donating to a good cause gives you a good reason to be happy. You’re doing something selfless that will benefit someone else, even if you never see the results. If you are willing to take a hit to your own time or money, you’ll be rewarded with a sunnier disposition.
31. Use your skills
What are you good at? Are you a great writer, painter, or a fantastic handstand aficionado? If so, one of the things that might make you happiest is putting your skills to use.
We all like to feel like we’re good at something, and the best way to do that is to stand up and do something well. Find a way to put your skills to use, even if it’s only in challenging yourself. If you can use your skills, you’ll feel good about yourself.
32. Write Yourself a Letter
Sometimes, you need to be your biggest fan. If you have a pen and paper, you can write a letter to your future to remind yourself of that. Get an envelope, stamp, and prepare to be a time traveller.
Write a quick letter to encourage yourself. This will not only make you feel better right now but will help you in the future. When the letter arrives, you’ll be reminded that you are in charge of your happiness.
33. Go offline
It’s easy to get down if you find yourself online. Even if you’ve usually got a great disposition, the online world can put a roadblock on your way to total happiness. Unplug for a bit to get your head on straight.
This works best if you have a day off, of course, but you can do this to various degrees. Stay away from social media and talk to people in person. You’ll be surprised by how much more reasonable the world can be face to face.
34. Dare yourself to do something silly
Your ego might be the thing that holds you back from being your happiness. You have a reputation and image to uphold, after all, even if it isn’t fun. If you want a shortcut to happiness, it might be through acting a bit silly.
If there’s something funny you’ve always wanted to do, make it a dare. Dare yourself to ride a unicycle or break into song in public. Don’t forget to put on an a happy face when you do it. The worst that can happen is that people stare – and the best is that you might break through your mental blocks.
35. Spend a day alone
There’s nothing wrong with spending time alone. In fact, spending a day alone might make you happy. If you need to disconnect with the world, it may be a good idea to get some privacy and get in touch with yourself.
Don’t waste a day when you’re alone. Incorporate some of the other ideas from this list while you are at it. Try to focus on the things that make you happiest and allow yourself to enjoy them alone. Here are some rules to be happy while being alone.
36. Make someone’s day
Happiness isn’t just about making yourself happy. It’s often about contributing to the delight of others. If you know something that can make a friend or family member truly happy, do what you can to make their dream come true.
For some, this can be as easy as buying a movie ticket. For others, this might require going on a road trip. What matters is that you’re willing to give of yourself to make someone else happy – an action that will increase your happiness.
37. Spend a day only with the people you love
Happiness is often found in those you love. While work and other vital parts of life might keep you away, these are the people for whom you love. Your happiness can be significantly increased by spending a full day with the people you love.
Next time you can coordinate a day off, try to spend it with someone who is important to you. You don’t have to do anything fancy – enjoy the time you have. Revel in the fact that you’re choosing to be with a person that you love.
38. Do something you wanted to do as a kid
One of the coolest things about being an adult is the fact that you can do whatever you want. Unfortunately, you may also be bogged down by responsibility. To be a bit happier, take a few hours to ignore the adult world and do something a kid would want to do.
If you always wanted to build a giant Lego set, for example, nothing is stopping you now. Likewise, no one will bat an eye if you want ice cream for breakfast. Give into your inner child every once in a while to improve your overall level of happiness.
39. Go for a drive
If you’ve got a car, driving can feel like a chore. You’ve probably forgotten how wonderful it was to drive on your own the first time. One great way to feel happier is to recapture that feeling by going on a drive to nowhere.
Get in your car, gas it up, and focus on the drive. Go somewhere that will allow you to avoid traffic and become one with the road. The sense of freedom you can get from a nice, lazy drive is hard to beat.
40. Allow yourself to fail
Not everything that makes you happier is going to look great at first glance. Sometimes, the key to being happier is by permitting yourself not to be perfect. In these cases, you need to allow yourself to fail.
Failing is not a bad thing as long as you learn from it. All the most successful people in the world have failed. Some are more prominent than others, but it is without a doubt, one of the best ways to learn. Here’s 10 Famous Failures To Learn From.
41. Do smiling exercises
This is a good one. When you smile, more often than not, you’re happy. So changing our physiology can affect our mind. I’m sure you’ve seen a sad person smile. At that moment, that person is happy. So make it a habit of smiling more by doing smiling exercises.
For most people, finding things that make you happy means trying something that’s difficult, but that is still rewarding. If you try hard enough, it doesn’t matter if you succeed. We can’t be happy all the time, but you will be happier because you tried and failed instead of giving into your fear. Writing this post made me feel happy.
Please share if you feel just a tad bit happier too!